Friday, May 27, 2011

3rd Split: 4-12

Overall Record: 16-32
5th in AL Central by 14.5 games

Other splits: 6-10, 6-10

Incredibly, things got worse. The lopsided scores disappeared as the strength of opponent tapered off. But the Twins still managed to have their worst split in years. They scored 4 or more runs 7 times. They went just 3-4 in those games. They allowed 3 or fewer runs 7 times. They went just 3-4 in those games. Basically, when they pitched well, they didn't hit. When they hit well, they didn't pitch. Whatever it took to lose, they did it.

The hitting definitely improved. The Twins averaged nearly 4 RPG and hit 15 HR - double their total to date. Their overall line of .240/.297/.362 is still beneath what you'd expect from a league average SS, but it looks pretty strong compared to what came before. This is largely due to vastly improved numbers from the bottom of the order. Alexi Casilla has caught fire since moving back to 2B, and Rene Rivera, while still hitting poorly even for a backup C, looks like Mike Piazza next to Drew Butera.

The pitching stayed about the same. Which is to say, it was pretty bad. The starters eventually kept the team in the game, but when they did, the bullpen routinely coughed up the lead. The overall team ERA was essentially flat. The K/9 improved a lot, but the BB/9 and HR/9 regressed a bit. Joe Nathan, Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins landed on the DL, forcing more marginal pitchers into high-leverage situations. Phil Dumatrait has done well, but everybody else has been killed.

The defense was dreadful. 13 E committed, though they resulted in just 4 UER. Too many extra outs, too many extra bases. Too much pressure added to a lineup and pitching staff that are struggling as it is. And that doesn't even include some of the plays that weren't made because of indecisiveness or lack of range. Some of it is the scrubs, but just about everybody the Twins run out there is capable of doing better, at least on balls hit into their zone.

Even terrible baseball teams generally win 6 out of every 16 games. It's hard to lose more than that. Everybody has their bad days, but they have their good days, too. The Twins have managed to make just enough mistakes to lose even on their good days. I don't know where the bottom of this pit is, but I still can't believe they won't reach it soon. They've played poorly, but they've also been unlucky. It isn't probable that both of those things will continue at this rate.

Bold prediction: They bottom out.

No comments: